Elkins has contributed a
fine article about Maurice Bessingerís unfair trade practices
lawsuit against grocery stores that discontinued stocking his barbecue
sauce. Bessingerís lawsuit resembles Curt Storeyís, and Iíd like
to add a few comments about their commonalities and implications.
(Kirk Lyons, who represents Storey, is also a participant in Bessingerís
adversaries are a less than noble bunch. Constitutional coarseness
and historical superficiality characterize these wannabe commissars.
Notwithstanding their unpalatable traits, Bessingerís course of
action couldnít be worse.
on the Federal
Trade Commission Act, South Carolinaís Unfair
Trade Practices Act criminalizes "unfair or deceptive"
commercial choices. A criterion for violation in some cases is whether
the choice is "offensive to public policy orÖimmoral, unethical,
is a nebulous, awful law that undercuts proprietary discretion.
No advocate of laissez-faire principles can endorse such an anti-capitalistic
a free society, no supermarket should be compelled to stock any
kind of product; it is elemental to ownership that an owner may
withhold inclusion of goods he considers objectionable. If a black-owned
supermarket doesnít want to stock Bessingerís sauce because its
ancestors fought in the United States Colored Troops against Bessingerís
ancestors, thatís the ownersí right; if an anti-imperialist supermarket
doesnít want to stock a "Kweisi Cola" because it objects
to someone whose name means "Conquering Son of Kings,"
thatís the ownersí right.
litigious impulse shared by Storey and Bessinger reflects a troubling
trend among pro-Confederates: the enlistment of statist institutions
to vindicate their creed. This is especially odd for those who profess
a highly decentralized political philosophy. A Confederate who invokes
Leviathan is like a Fidelista who venerates Hayek.
surely a frisson in turning statist policies against statists
the "How do you like dem apples?" tactic, so to speak.
Its proponents should realize, however, that this approach only
impedes the advancement of a truly Confederate creed. One cannot
esteem Alexander Stephens and then embody the Consolidationism he
free market insures autonomous choice, not commercial prosperity.
Supermarketsí withdrawal of Maurice Bessingerís sauce is capitalism
at work, and he has no right to dictate otherwise. (Bessinger and
his allies could of course organize boycotts.) To modify the adage:
Kantor [send him mail]
Myles Kantor is editor of FreeEmigration.com
and co-hosts "On Liberty" on WWFE-AM 670 in Miami, Florida Sundays
from 9pm-10pm. Learn more
about "On Liberty" here.